Majority of the demonstrators were Lumad, Moro, Cordillera peoples and national minorities came all the way from remote  parts of the country to express support of the GRP-NDFP peace process and voice their legitimate demands, specifically the cessation of  on-going combat and civil military operations of AFP troops in the countryside.  They also aired their opposition to the unabated plunder and dispossession of their ancestral lands by foreign large-scale mining  and agribusiness plantations and other US business interests.

Wednesday’s violent dispersal showed only too clearly the extent to which the reactionary state armed forces will employ in order to protect US imperialist interests in the country. Personnel of the Philippine National Police deliberately and repeatedly ran over protesters with their vehicle, severely wounding at least 50, including women and elderly. They used water cannons and tear gas bombs on the protesters, illegally arrested and detained 24 people following the violent dispersal.

US imperialism has dispatched its most rabid running dogs in the country to authorize this violent dispersal of the demonstrators to show its displeasure over GRP Pres. Duterte’s moves to establish ties with China.  This recent attack on our national minorities in defense of US imperialism should therefore only strengthen the President’s resolve to abrogate all onerous economic and military agreements with the United States and continue to push for an active and independent foreign policy.

We urge GRP Pres. Duterte to ensure that the militarist upper echelons in the AFP and the PNP who were responsible for the October 19 violent dispersal be held accountable.  The protesters should find even a token of  justice in a system riddled with the culture of impunity.  The anti-Duterte clique is clearly servile to the interests of US imperialism and are in the forefront of the on-going maneuvers to undermine Duterte and push him out of office.

NDFP-SMR encourages all the Lumads, Moro, Cordillera Peoples and other national minorities and advocates to persevere with their legitimate demands, especially the pull-out of AFP troops in their communities, the abrogation of the Mutual Defense Treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.  They must persist in their fight to end the imperialist plunder of our natural resources.

The national  minorities’ struggle for the right to self-determination and a just and lasting peace highlight the people’s demand to be rid of the clutches of US imperialism, and the exploitation being perpetuated by big landlords and corrupt bureaucrats in the country, which are at the root of the armed conflict.